Reply To: Inattentive ADHD – meds or no meds?

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As an individual with ADHD who has been on stimulant medication for 27 years (since I was 13), I still get asked how I feel about medication. This is such a strange thing to ask to me. I’m sure that epileptics, diabetics and other people with life long medical conditions (which is what ADHD is – a neurological disorder) do not get asked this question first.
Don’t get me wrong, it is right to get educated and to understand and be comfortable with what and how the medications you take address your health condition. It is also everyone’s choice (& often a positive approach) to seek alternative medicine as part of a wider treatment plan under the guidance of a qualified health practitioner.
What concerns me is that there is a FEAR of stimulant medication that fails to identify that it is what medical experts understand to be the best treatment for ADHD. It is the reluctance to try at all the medication which is so well recognised as appropriate treatment, before questioning its effectiveness. This would not happen with any other condition, and is due to guilt brought on by stigmas associated with condition and its treatment.
Break free of this stigma and treat it as you would any other condition. (Some may seek alternatives for every condition, but most would take what was prescribed with belief that the medical professional they are consulting is appropriately knowledgeable.) If you get side-effects, discuss them with your son’s pschiatrist and work from there. But I would urge you to really think about the real reason for denying your son the opportunity to commence on a medication that could very well unlock his potential and remove the obstacles created by the executive functioning disorders associated with the condition.
I have been able to lead a very successful life despite very strong ADHD, through acceptance of my condition, my parents choice to treat it as a medical condition, consistent stimulant medication and continuous care relationships with psychiatrists. I have a degree, a professional designation, a beautiful family and successful long term relationships. But only due to the support of my medication, which allows me to communicate my true self and abilities out to the world.
It may not be your son’s solution, but it would seem amiss if you didn’t try the most tested and effective treatment, before turning to other alternatives.
Note: I have not had any serious negative side-effects in all that time. And those few and pretty immaterial issues were resolved when I got the levels right. I take Vyvanse (and took dexaphetamine prior). The initial onset and the drop off are very much reduced with Vyvanse and it results stay very consistent all day. If you are advised to take dexamphetamine, discuss Vyvanse as an option – as it is a similar but smoother solution.
Good luck. I hope you son can start to shine through and that you are able to help him avoid the effects to self-esteem that take root during the pre-teen and teen years of ADHD. Also, there are many positive aspects of ADHD (which are not eliminated by stimulate medication) and I hope that he will be able to embrace them and use them in this world.